The government of Jordan with the cooperation of the United States is hosting the annual joint training exercise “Eager Lion” which will take place over the next 11 days.

During a press conference at the Joint Special Operations Command, Director of Joint Military Training at the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF) Brig. Gen. Khaled Shraah said that the drills are being conducted with the participation of ground, naval and air forces, amounting to around 7,400 participants representing JAF and US forces.

US and Jordanian officials said the manoeuvres would include border security, cyber-defence, and “command and control” exercises to bolster coordination in response to threats including “terrorism”.

“Joint efforts and coordination and the exchange of expertise … are needed at the time when the region is facing the threat of terrorism,” Jordanian Brigadier-General Khalid al-Sharaa, who will head the exercise, told reporters.

US Major-General Bill Hickman, deputy commanding officer for the American army in the region, said this year’s Eager Lion exercise – the seventh so far – is “the largest and most complex to date”.

The highlight of this year’s war games, he said, will be that “for the first time ever a global strike mission” will be conducted by “two US Air Force B-1B bomber aircraft” – a long-range multi-mission bomber.

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The military exercise will see the participation of Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, the UAE, Lebanon, the UK, France, Kenya, Italy, Pakistan, the US, Belgium, Poland, Holland, Australia, Greece, Japan, as well as representatives of NATO.

Last year, about 6000 troops took part in the exercise which has been on-going since 2011. Jordan is a key ally of the United States in the region and has received upwards of $1 billion dollars of aid in the years 2015-2017.

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Photo courtesy Reuters